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3 UX tips to build successful blockchain-based products.

Published by Vaggelis Rekkas, 12 June 2019.

Blog UX Design in Blockchain

No doubt, blockchain has failed to gain massive adoption so far, despite the high value it can bring to our lives.

But if blockchain is really going to play a key role in our lives, it can’t just be a technology embraced solely by the tech-savvy. To make this happen, blockchain-based products and services have to be easily understood, earn consumers’ trust, and smoothly be integrated into our daily routines.

This post presents some key User Experience (UX) tips to help designers craft better and more successful blockchain products. Products that will realize faster and greater adoption.

It’s all about customer experience.

"New products succeed not because of the features and functionality they offer but because of the experiences they enable." Clayton M. Christensen

A lot of companies can make something functional, but truly great companies build products that are meaningful to people’s lives!

UX Blockchain hierarchy

When considering the User Experience Hierarchy of Needs, successful brands shift their thinking from a bottom-up focus to a top-down focus. These brands start with the experience they want people to have and the emotions they want them to feel when using their products.

This way of thinking brings significant business benefits, since products that prioritize customer experience see faster and greater adoption. Increased sales and customer loyalty come as a natural.

So, is poor UX, characterizing the plethora of blockchain-based products, one of the reasons why they fail to attract customers and go mainstream? Then answer is yes! Of course, poor UX is not the only reason holding them back, but definitely plays a key role to their dramatically low adoption yet.

So, how can we, as product designers, craft blockchain-based products and services that will be loved and get widely adopted by the masses?

#1. Bring product value upfront.

Let’s be clear. When it comes to value proposition, blockchain-based products are not different to products relying on any other technology. People already make online purchases, vote, sign legal documents, trade, ship packages, etc. The fact that you are implementing your product using a blockchain instead of another technology, means nothing to the end users.

In Trust in Technology study conducted by HSBC on 2017, 80% out of 12.000 participants don’t understand blockchain or have never heard of it before. Even more, among other technologies, blockchain was the one least heard about. The question is this: If 80% of the people who would be your target consumers don’t understand the technology, should you explain it to them? The answer is no!

UX Blockchain focus
Your product’s value to your customers is not the use of blockchain, but rather the problem it does solve!

So, instead of focusing your marketing and promotional material around blockchain-related keywords and cool features, you should emphasize on the problem you solve and the value you can deliver to your customers.

A great example of a blockchain-based product that perfectly highlights product value and at the same time eliminates tech-bias is GiveCrypto. Using a rather emotional design approach, GiveCrypto manages to bring value upfront and increases chances for users to convert and help on its mission to fight poverty via crypto donations.

#2. Heavily invest effort in interaction details.

Once you have convinced users about the value your product brings and they start using it, now you have to make sure it is intuitive, easy-to-use, and delivers an emotional benefit.

Cater for terminology.

Use plain, natural language. Simplify your messages.

Keep in mind that users are already accustomed to specific terminology when they buy products online or do banking. So why not follow the best writing and language usage practices tailored to the specific field, each time?

Adopt familiar, common words on your copies and microcopies (prompts, buttons, labels, dialogs, etc.) and try to remove tech-bias as much as possible. This will help you remove confusion, improve usability, and ultimately will make it easier for your users to accomplish your product’s objectives.

Effectively guide users.

Removing frustration and anxiety is central to any user interaction. When it comes to blockchain, this becomes even more critical due to the technology’s inherent technical characteristics, such as time delays and irreversible actions.

As a designer, you should emphasize on clarity and provide enough guidance and feedback to your users. Also, make sure that you timely inform them about one-way actions, underlying fees, etc.

Do not neglect first and closing impressions.
First impressions drive sales. Closing impressions drive loyalty.

Initial user interactions with your product should focus on fostering trust. This is your chance to make your customers feel welcome and safe. Images, videos, headlines, and any other design material should reflect welcome vibes. Additionally, make sure that your onboarding process eliminates unnecessary steps.

Closing or ending impressions should aim to leave a strong, positive emotional imprint on users. This is the key to keep users coming back and using your product or service again and again.

Balance Functionality & Beauty.

Make your brand memorable! Personality, in terms of aesthetics and emotions, is a catalyst to a product’s success.

Therefore, try to infuse personality and evoke positive emotions wherever possible. Usually neglected screens, such as loading screens, empty screens, and error screens are an ideal place to make your product stand out.

UX Blockchain dashboards

When you effectively balance functionality and beauty, you ensure users are more engaged with your product.

#3. Cater for early adopters and newcomers.

As always, to build successful products, you need to know your user. However, this becomes even more critical on the blockchain space since you have to cater for both early adopters and newcomers.

UX Blockchain customers

So, can your business and your product be really meaningful for all different user groups? Do you need to build different products or not?

The above blogpost is based on my presentation given in the scope of the Bitcoin & Blockchain Tech Meetup, on December 2018. You may find the full presentation below.

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